On July 1 at 9:30, my husband and I arrived at the hospital to begin the journey of transformation. I can say with complete honesty that I was not scared. I WANTED this. To my core, I knew this was what I wanted. I was having a touch of anxiety over the IV placement as that is usually difficult but that went well that day.
We met funny nurses, serious nurses, in the middle nurses. All were kind and sweet and some were favored over others (as I believe is always the case). The doctor came in to discuss how I was feeling and to write all over me with his purple Sharpee. He was an artist and I was his canvas. My anticipation level was high.
The last one to come in was the anesthesiologist. He lacked personality and bedside manner but to lets be honest, I just wanted him to drug me up and keep me out of pain. I didn’t need to make a best friend over the transaction. I did tell him that I had trouble with going under. In more recent surgeries, I had problems with low blood pressure and being woken from anesthesia. He slightly nodded as people with his personality do. You wonder if they heard you or if they cared to make a note. I know from later conversations that he did, in fact, make a note of it in my file. It didn’t help in the end, though.
Fast forward through the surgery. It was to have lasted 3 hours. It lasted about 4. The doc came out to my husband to tell me he was very happy with how successful he was in terms of the lipo, tummy tuck and the muscle repair. Once I was stable in the recovery room, my husband could go back to see me. Hour after hour passed. I was not only having trouble coming out of surgery, I was having the worst time I have ever had coming out of it. My bp was so low, there was great concern. I kept receiving more and more fluids which weren’t really helping matters. Finally after 5 hours, they let my husband come back. I kept waking momentarily and asking for him. I knew they were going to send for him when I heard one of the docs say, “Let the husband come back, it can’t make it worse.” I remember thinking, “Oh shit” but just as I thought it, I slipped back to sleep.
My husband tells me that when he saw me, he cried. He said I looked seriously ill. He could also pick up on the concern of all the nurses and docs. It was a stressful situation for him and for that, I am sorry. He did tell me that I now looked like Dolly Parton since I had my operation. With my waist gone, it accentuated other parts of me. Ha Ha!
When I finally began coming too for the duration, I realized the issue at hand with the staff was my fluid. They had given me 5 bags of fluids to help with the crashing bp and then were not able to “find” it. It wasn’t coming out in the catheter. I was swollen everywhere like a Goodyear blimp. They gave me Lasik to flush my kidneys but that did nothing.
Of course at this time I began telling them I was having a hard time breathing. I didn’t feel as though I was getting enough Oxygen when I was breathing in. They checked my Oxygen to find my levels were very low. They were then concerned that the missing fluid was in my lungs so they ordered an emergency chest x-ray to verify all was okay there. It was. Thank God.
I stayed for a couple more hours in the recovery room until they could brief the floor upstairs what was happening. I was eventually moved upstairs to nurses who despite my being assured they were aware of everything, certainly didn’t act like they knew what was happening. They were nice women but it was as though I had entered a new world. Downstairs I was treated with kit gloves and gently. Upstairs they were pushing me from one side to another, sitting me up, moving me all around roughly. It was a tough transition.
Later the next am, I was still struggling with low Oxygen levels and trouble breathing. it was late morning when I felt severe tightness in my chest. So much so, I called for the nurse and told her something was wrong. She told me I should get an ekg to make sure I wasn’t in cardiac arrest. She wheeled in the machine and all looked okay. I was ready after all this to go home. But of course, I had to wait until my Oxygen level was okay before I could be released. This would take all day. ALL DAY. Finally in the last moments (after a certain point, you have to stay another night), my level was “fair enough” to go home. WOOHOO! I was so glad.
Handsome hubby took me home and the trip was uneventful. I was sore but so doped up that I don’t remember much. Truth be told, I was so doped up for the first 4-5 days that I remember only bits and pieces. I do remember when I came into the house, our plan was for me to head right upstairs from the foyer into our room. My hubby just wanted to get me settled into our room and then let the children come to see me. So in we went and according to plan, up the steps we went. What I had not taken into account was my shortness of breath and struggles with breathing. By the time I reached the top of the staircase, my chest was burning and I was gasping. Then I had to continue on into our room. Oh my gosh. It took a good half hour to calm my lungs down.
After this, I was pretty much just laying low in our bedroom watching Real Housewives of Jersey (marathon) with my husband and feeling pretty darn sore.
One day I got my first and hopefully only migraine. I guess it was from all the medication and trauma. Needless to say, I had my husband cover the windows with blankets and then I was sporting the below (see picture)…I wet wash cloth, an ice pack both on my head while wearing his sunglasses. Funny story about this picture is that it was taken in the part of our bathroom that has no windows. The light was off and the door was closed and I STILL wanted sunglasses. 🙂 To which my adorable hubby asked, “I know this isn’t funny now but can I take a picture because I know we are going to think its funny very soon.”. Of course I said yes. Even in pain I am always down for a good laugh. 🙂 And look, he was right. Here we are laughing about it! Smart guy!
I know I made it sound like Exit 2 was a nightmare. It definitely had its issues. And I have to say, the real work rested on my husband and Studious. They took such good care of me and the Final Three (when grandmothers didn’t have them). I am blessed.
And though it was a hard road, I have no regrets. I am so pleased with the outcome. Exit 2 led me to Exit 3 and I am so happy for it!